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How is Cleopatra's 'infinite variety' reflected in the language that she uses? In your answer you should include detailed reference to at least 2 passages from the play.

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Introduction

How is Cleopatra's 'infinite variety' reflected in the language that she uses? In your answer you should include detailed reference to at least 2 passages from the play. Throughout the play many sides of Cleopatra are shown, this suggests she is constantly masking her true feelings, this ability shows her as a good queen of Egypt, but also a stubborn, yet scared person. The first passage I will refer to is Act I, Scene 1, where Antony and Cleopatra are happy and flirtatious. Here Cleopatra is portrayed as a flirtatious and dominant character, almost like a 'femme fatale' with her use of language suggesting this via words and statements such as "If it be love indeed, tell me how much", "Hear the ambassadors", these two statements are direct and dominant, she tells Antony to do these things rather than asking him. Also, the way she talks about love in this manner shows her as independent and strong. ...read more.

Middle

Her reference to Antony as 'My lord' the second time round is significant as it shows her fear of losing him because of her actions. Overall, Cleopatra does not say much in this scene, showing her shame and sorrow at the situation she is in. When she does speak she is very apologetic and says very little, especially in comparison to Antony's long speeches. Her final words in this scene say it all; "Pardon, pardon." In these two scenes Cleopatra's variety of 'personalities' are shown through these two polar facades, in one she speaks a lot, is dominant, demanding and manipulative, in the other, she says very little, is apologetic almost to the stage of begging, and speaks to Antony with respect. This seeming role reversal between Antony and Cleopatra is seen a number of times throughout the play, in accordance with the events occurring in the plot. ...read more.

Conclusion

She talks of the past by bringing up Caesar's father, whom she was with before Antony. She talks of him fondly, suggesting she still cares for Caesar's father, and in turn, Caesar and Rome also. In two of these three scenes Cleopatra is able to mask her feelings completely, with her use of language being sophisticated enough to manipulate two powerful men. In all three scenes she is seen in a different light, almost like it were three different characters. Shakespeare keeps the audience intrigued by these changes, and shows Antony and Cleopatra's relationship advancing, and also different character's roles and personalities, through Cleopatra and the other characters' language. Cleopatra's language is very clever, showing a surface meaning that could be completely different when looked at on a deeper level, this close textual analysis allows me to see what her true feelings were, in comparison to these masked emotions that are portrayed to the other characters. This could be Shakespeare's way of pre-empting the tragic end and other major events in the play. Eleanor Doherty GJN ...read more.

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